- 27,500 community toilets will be installed in Allahabad
- 16,000 dustbins will be in place for people to dispose of waste properly
- Clean Ganga Mission will encourage people to give cleanliness a priority
New Delhi: In a state which has underperformed in the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the descent of millions of people into Uttar Pradesh for the Ardh Kumbh Mela next year is sure to pose a challenge for the administration. Questions have been raised on the state’s ability to provide safe sanitation facilities to devotees, ensure that waste generated during the festival is processed properly and not disposed into the Ganga. In the 13th Executive Committee meeting of the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), the Uttar Pradesh government gave a brief of all the preparations it has taken up to ensure a clean and healthy Ardh Kumbh 2019.
Across Allahabad, 27,500 community toilets will be built during the three months of Ardh Kumbh Mela, from January to March 2019. All of these community toilets will have septic tanks installed, which will be cleared twice a day while the Mela goes on. The NMCG will also install around 5,000 pre-fabricated toilets in Allahabad. These will be portable, moved around as required, and will come with bio-digester tanks and will be fitted with a cisterns, wash basins and water tanks. The NMCG has already started procuring the toilets.
20,000 community urinals will also be installed during the Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019. This will be done to ensure that people do not urinate in the open and have enough urinals to access. Nityananda Ray, Deputy Secretary of NMCG said that the NMCG wanted to ensure that there were enough toilets and urinals for the devotees to use, and that there was no instance of open defecation due to lack of toilets.
We have enough time on our hands to ensure a clean and hygienic Kumbh 2019. We will install enough toilets in Allahabad to ensure that people don’t defecate in the open. Since the Mela will be held close to the river Ganga, we want to make sure that there is no case of open defecation near or in the river, said Mr Ray.
Along with toilets, NMCG will also set up 16,000 dustbins throughout Allahabad for proper disposal of waste. These will be regularly cleared and the collected waste will be sent for disposing at nearby waste treatment plants. The NMCG is confident that such a large number of dustbins will ensure a cleaner Kumbh. The NMCG will also encourage people to keep their surroundings clean during the festival, use toilets and dustbins regularly.
“We will promote this Kumbh as a festival of cleanliness. People will be asked to dispose waste in dustbins and use toilets regularly, as all the provisions will be ready. We will also make people aware of the dangers of disposing waste into the Ganga river, or defecating on the river’s banks,” said Mr Ray.
The Kumbh Mela is one of India’s biggest religious festivals. The 2013 Kumbh Mela was attended by a record 120 million over a period of two months, and the NMCG anticipates that the number of attendees in 2019 will be similar or more. If the Mela is conducted successfully with proper sanitation and waste management measures in place, it will be a big boost to Uttar Pradesh’s Swachhata mission. The state needs 1.5 crore toilets to become open defecation free (ODF), and has built around 1.1 crore toilets till date. UP has set a deadline of October 2, 2018 to become completely ODF.